EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Fernando Jimenez grew up on a golf course.  He could play for free any day, all day, if he wished. But he simply was not interested in golf.

His mother explained that during the pandemic, his family bonded over sports. “We had always been very close, but the shutdown brought our bond to a whole new level. Both my husband and I worked from home and had the opportunity to see our boys mature and grow. We played board games, basketball, cycling, tennis, spike ball, and golf. Golf had always been around, since they both grew up at a golf course, but they never showed interest.

They always had clubs and access to a course, however this time was different. They both saw golf as an outlet from the crazy time of COVID. It was a sport our family enjoyed no matter what level we all were at. We joined a club and played weekly as a family. Both boys have natural talent and quickly excelled. Fernando has always been competitive, self-motivated, and independent.  He is an A/B student who hates to be late or miss school, he is respectful, driven, and mature for his age.

It was natural for him to look for a job.  He took a weekend job as a cart boy at El Paso Country Club.  It was there that he picked up a club.  He was sixteen years old.

After that, all he wanted to do was play golf and hit balls, often joining his dad for Saturday morning rounds and hitting balls at area ranges, often long after dark. 

The coach from El Paso High saw him play one day and invited Fernando to switch from Da Vinci High School to play varsity golf for the Tigers.  Fernando switched schools but was not allowed by the district to participate in any tournaments until he had sat out for one year.  Junior year saw Fernando practicing every day, working out at the gym and getting advice from his dad, who just happens to be a former Head Golf Professional.

In his Senior year, finally eligible to play tournaments, Fernando wins the AAAAA district title at Lone Star during El Paso’s windiest 2 days of the year.  On hand to watch his performance was his mother, a former El Paso High Tiger who also did not take up golf until her junior year but went on to play for the UTEP Lady Miners, win 2 city championships and represent the Sun Country Section at the USGA Women’s Team tournament.

Fernando’s grandfather, a Lifetime PGA member, also walked the course, proclaiming “watching Fernando play has been the most fun I have ever had on a golf course!”

Though Fernando comes from a golfing family, he has put in the effort to shape his future and will be signing with Eastern Arizona State next month. 

The future looks promising for this latecomer who has the rest of his life to earn his spot among the family lore.